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YOGA AND ALCHEMY                          215

and the more it differed from grain, the more likely it was considered
to be the food of the immortals.

Su wrote two notes in connection with the manufacture of the
external pill, one called the "male pill" and the other the "female pill".
The female pill was made from milk taken from a mother who had
given birth to her firstborn boy. This milk was heated over a slow fire
in a pan made of a silver amalgam of mercury and slowly stirred with a
spoon of the same material until it clotted and could be macU into a
pill. The male pill was made of urea taken from the breakdown of the
albumen in urine. This albumen deposit was carefully strained and
purified through repeated processes until it became a whjte odourless
powder and then was made into a pill with date meat and taken with
Iwine on an empty stomach.

Su Tungpo searched for the philosopher's stone until the end of his
,days; however, he retained a certain amount of gqgd sense with regard
to this quest for immortality. All the Taoist immortals had passed
away; at least they had always left a corpse behifid, although the theory
was that their bodies had been transformed, afid that when nobody was
by, they could have ascended to heaven either riding upon the back of
a stork or having become storks themselves ("featherised"), leaving
merely a carcass which had nothing to do with their immortal selves.
This carcass was then regarded in the sanje light as the dry shell or skin
|shed by a cicada or a snake, and their miraculous death was called
"cicada escape", But Su Tungpo wanted to see someone who really
-never died.

"Ever since I was a child, I have heard of Taoists who can prolong
life. But people like Chao Paoyi, Shu Teng, and Chang Yuanmeng
all lived to about a hundred, and then died just like any other people.
After I came to Huangchow, I heard of Chu Yuanching at Foukuang,
who enjoyed a high reputation and was regarded as master by many
people. But he, too, died of an illness in a violent paroxysm. How-
ever, he really could transmute gold and left some gold and powder
behind, now in the hands of the government, I am beginning to
wonder whether such immortals ever existed, or whether they do
exist but are not seen by people. Or are we all mistaken? Is it not
possible that the stories in the ancient books about Taoists who never
died are just like the cases mentioned above an<texaggerated by the

Apart from this futile search for the philosopher's stone, I do not
think the principles of hygiene inculcated by the Taoists very much
differ from the advice of modern doctors. Forgetting the wild goose
chase after immortality, one comes back always to the principles of